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Case Title:

Contemporary Capitalism: Darkness at High Noon?

Publication Year : 2009

Authors: Akshaya Kumar Jena

Industry: Not Applicable


Case Code: GBE0072

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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** Finalists at "Dark Side VIII" Case Writing Competition, Academy of Management Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois 2009. **

The case study, Contemporary Capitalism: Darkness at High Noon?, is an attempt to expose the dark sides of capitalism with reference mainly to the US, the flagship of capitalism, and a few other countries, especially those, which have transited to capitalism in the hope of booming prosperity. Though Karl Marx’s prophecy of the demise of capitalism didn’t come true because of Keynesian curative measures, his critique of capitalism still sticks. Exploitation of the labor class and under-consumption of the masses brings into broad relief the twin major evils of capitalism: income inequality and economic volatility. In its hot pursuit of private profit, capitalism takes no cognizance of the societal goods when the objective of the society runs counter to that of the individual. The tragedy of the commons ensues with ecological calamity. The greed inherent in capitalism has gone so far in contemporary times that disasters are both invited and created to cash in on huge follow-up activities. Other murky aspects of contemporary capitalism manifest themselves as ‘dehumanizing’ capitalism and ‘crony’ capitalism.

The case study tickles the interest of the readers as it takes them down the dark lanes and by-lanes of capitalism and challenges their intellect as it leaves them with many an exciting idea to mull over.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the meaning and functioning of contemporary capitalism
  • To explore the various dark sides of capitalism
  • To examine the remedial measures to overcome the failings of contemporary capitalism
  • To debate over the choice between prosperity and income equality.

Keywords : Capitalism, Capitalist Economy, Capitalist Economy vs Socialist Economy, Capitalist Economy and Unemployment, Deadweight Loss, Twin failures of Market Machanism, Credit Default Swaps, CDS vs GDP, Crony Capitalism, Contemprary Capitalism, Laffer Curve

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